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Free At Noon Flashback: Dave Hause makes the rock show a family affair

Dave Hause | photo by Tiana Timmerberg | <a href="http://spotlightviews.com" target="_blank">spotlightviews.com</a>
Dave Hause | photo by Tiana Timmerberg | spotlightviews.com

Philadelphia singer/songwriter Dave Hause is devoted to his city. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that, but if somehow you need more proof, his new record is called Bury Me In Philly. From the start of his set this afternoon, it was clear this was going to be a family affair. His brother was to his right playing guitar. His dad was in the audience, and at the end of the performance, Hause let his niece and nephew do their first stage dive. It’s just the kind of feel-good atmosphere you want after a long work week.

There’s a humility to this guy that permeates every aspect of his music. The arrangements, lyrics, even the way he and his band The Mermaid move around onstage feels deeply rooted in classic rock. Most of the songs came off the new record, from was the countrified “Divine Lorraine” to the alt-rock leaning “With You.” These variations kept the songs from blending together too much, but it always came back to the Springsteen-esque chug that got Hause where he is today. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: Flo Morrissey and Matthew E. White put a psychedelic twist on hits old and new

Flo Morrissey and Matthew E. White | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN
Flo Morrissey and Matthew E. White | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN

What do Nico, Frankie Valli, and Frank Ocean all have in common? Their wonderful tunes take a different shape on Gentlewoman, Ruby Man, the wonderful new album from the pond-crossing pair Flo Morrissey and Matthew E. White. Lucky for us in the Free at Noon crowd, we got to experience the duo put their psychedelic twist on some classic tunes from the aforementioned trio and beyond.

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Free at Noon Flashback: Ron Gallo brings his raw power and character to the World Cafe Live stage

Ron Gallo | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN
Ron Gallo | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN

Man, this Ron Gallo guy, he’s something special. His eloquent lyricism, blues-like guitar riffs, and overall raw attitude defines him as his own, and it all came into full effect as he took the World Cafe Live stage for a round of pure rock and roll.

Gallo’s return trip to XPN found him performing material from his soon-to-be-released record Heavy Meta, along with some of his past discography. Matching the manic nature of all those damn stage lights, Gallo and friends flowed through fifty minutes of some fantastic garage rock, as songs like “Young Lady, You’re Scaring Me” and “Kill the Medicine Man” felt like a White Stripes and Costello Music baby. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: Leif Vollebekk leaves it all onstage with intimate solo set

Leif Vollebekk | photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN
Leif Vollebekk | photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN

When we talk about singer/songwriter music, the word “intimate” pops up frequently. It makes sense, of course, since they tend to talk about things that are private or closely personal, but after a while, the word starts to feel redundant. With that being said, though, I can’t think of any other way to describe Leif Vollebekk’s set this afternoon. He’s using the same ingredients as many of his peers, but it still comes out feeling fresh, genuine, and yes, very intimate. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: Chuck Prophet keeps the rock & roll tradition alive with crowd-pleasing acoustic set

Chuck Prophet | photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN | <A href=http://cameronpollackphotography.com target="_blank">cameronpollackphotography.com</a>
Chuck Prophet | photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN | cameronpollackphotography.com

Singer/songwriter Chuck Prophet’s music is steeped in history. Whether it be the San Francisco-centric Temple Beautiful or the personal tales on 2014’s Night Surfer, there’s a palpable reverence for the past that can’t be ignored. The rock & roll tradition is constantly being reimagined and reinterpreted, and Chuck is just one of many reshaping it in his image. His latest, Bobby Fuller Died For Your Sins, is sure to continue on that trajectory. On record, he’s usually joined by a full band, but one man and his guitar were more than enough to satisfy the Free At Noon audience this Friday afternoon. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: Purling Hiss rages into 2017 with a set of High Bias jams

Purling Hiss | photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN | <a href=http://cameronpollack.com/ target="_blank">cameronpollack.com</a>
Purling Hiss | photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN | cameronpollack.com

Things got loud at the final Free at Noon concert of 2016. Philadelphia power trio Purling Hiss, fronted by dynamic guitarist Mike Polizze, tore through a 45-minute set centered around its eighth studio LP High Bias but drew from all corners of its career. The set opened with a burst of feedback and then “Learning Slowly,” an infectious song from its 2014 record Weirdon. The song is built around a racing motorcycle riff and is a testament to the band’s sense of heritage — behind the squeals and squalor, Polizze and the Hiss write songs strongly informed by classic 70s rock riffs and structures.

As the set proceeded, that contrast was underscored — howling noise of cuts like “3000 AD” and the cranky “Teddy’s Servo Motors” sat alongside poppy burners like “Fever” and the sing-along-able “Follow You Around.” There’s a bit of a Sex Pistols sneer in High Bias, and a touch of 80s college rock — evidenced by the band’s cover of “Green Eyes” by Hüsker Dü. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: Matt Pond PA brings his wintry charm to WCL

Matt Pond PA / Cameron Pollack for WXPN
Matt Pond PA / Cameron Pollack for WXPN

Matt Pond PA‘s music was made for the long drive home, for the precious little time spent with family. The music off his new record Winter Lives evokes images of snow-capped pines and valleys dusted in white. His lyricism evokes imagery of a world that, while rife with problems, is still beautiful. His music, especially from this latest record, instills a belief that there is somehow still love out there, a belief, foremost, in people.

That belief shone throughout his Free at Noon set; starting with “In Winter” he made the room warm up with lyrics like “the cold will bring us close”, a welcome sentiment in a time where, frighteningly, everyone feels slightly more distant than usual. “The Glow,” a song written for Pond’s mother, was rife with vibrant guitar, and painted a beautiful picture of a family and all its messy dynamics in the dead of winter. Songs like “So Much Trouble”, “Love To Get Used” and “Halloween” showed Pond’s take on all the vicissitudes of life; humans, as it turns out, are still complicated. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: Muddy Magnolias defy the afternoon with soulful midday set

Muddy Magnolias perform live at WXPN's Free At Noon Concert | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN
Muddy Magnolias perform live at WXPN’s Free At Noon Concert | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN

One powerful, acrobatic voice is great. Two, however, is a lot better; that’s just simple math. Muddy Magnolias, the singer/songwriter project of Nashvillians Jessy Wilson and Kallie North, is a prime example of this, and their debut album Broken People is the proof. It’s a soulful eleven track set, and it sounds just as good, if not better, live.

After kicking things off with the somber, intense spiritual “Down By The Riverside”, they launched into the album’s fiery title track with its rousing hook of “Do you go to bed hungry?”. Wilson and North began their relationship as drinking buddies, and that chemistry translates onstage, especially on playful, feel-good tracks like conscious single “Brother What Happened?” and lively Doobie Brothers cover “Alright”. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: Secret Sisters play joyously “depressing” music in arresting afternoon set

The Secret Sisters | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN
The Secret Sisters | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN

With 2016 coming to its hotly anticipated close, it’s about time we got a little sentimental. The eve of yearly self-reflection is upon us, and with that in mind, maybe some sad, slow country songs from The Secret Sisters were just what the doctor ordered.  Laura and Lydia Rogers were self-deprecating throughout, calling their music “depressing,” but they backed it up with a passionate, arresting performance that I’ll be thinking about into the new year. Continue reading →